"I bought a good camera so I'll start a photography business"

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shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581
"I bought a good camera so I'll start a photography business"

This mentality annoys me so much. I have two "photographers" on my Facebook that fit in to this (plus a third who was but gave up). One of the two is at least taking courses and trying to learn the skills, however, she posts sneak peeks of her sessions on Facebook and often the images are OOF, badly composed, pinlights, weird colours, inappropriate selective colour edited, etc.

Even worse, another lady has started a photography business because she was in an accident and wants something "easy" to do. She has printed business cards, started a business page and is advertising herself as an affordable photographer. I saw her images and was gobsmacked that she is charging! I wish I could link to show her images but thought there might be a rule against it. A couple of her images are obviously blue, which gives you an idea of the quality. Photos of backs of heads, kids swallowed by props, etc. Ugh. It annoys me as I think you shouldn't be calling yourself a photographer until you earned that right and you certainly shouldn't be charging to 'point and shoot'.

I badly wanted to make a comment on the business page but I didn't. She has even made a second fb account (using her real name and DOB) and has used that to write "Great photos" on the business page as if she was a customer.

Vent over Smile

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2363

I totally agree! I have a FB friend like that. She got a DSLR for a gift and immediately started a photography business and somehow thinks that with the great camera, she's instantaneously a great photographer, too.

I have a RL friend who's a good photographer, and he said that there are so many people hanging out their photography 'shingle' now that it's even hard for good photographers to compete. This is a bit funny, but about nine months ago he told me that my photos are better than many of his competitors. By the conversation, it was clear that he wasn't saying *I* was good enough to be pro, but that I'm better than many people who *think* they're good enough to be pro. And I agree, I would never dream of charging money right now, but there are a lot of people, like my FB friend, who do charge just because they have the great camera and figure they can take great pictures.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Yep there is a local girl here who does it for money and has a website and everything but wow hers are bad. She obviously doesn't take the time to learn to use her camera properly, or even post process to correct anything.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Well, I guess the way to look at it is, the pro photographers won't want the business that those people are attracting anyway. People who want something for cheap are usually difficult to deal with.

I struggle with this type of situation. I understand WHY they're trying to do it. I mean, I know it's not affordable for our family to go with a boutique photographer all the time for our family pictures, so it's nice that some people are putting the option out there for families like mine. BUT, I know I would never pay money for pictures that are sub par. Of course, my eye is much more "trained" than the average person who knows nothing about photography, so I'm more picky, therefore I wouldn't go with someone like that.

The question I would like to ask the pros who have been around for years and years (think the guy who is still around that took my senior portraits) is if it REALLY has effected their business. So many of these fauxtographers come and go because they don't know how to run a business or they didn't realize how little they would be making (or how much they'd go in the hole), I can't imagine that it's really hitting anyone that hard. I could be wrong though. Just something to think about, I guess.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2363

"Ladybugsteph" wrote:

The question I would like to ask the pros who have been around for years and years (think the guy who is still around that took my senior portraits) is if it REALLY has effected their business. So many of these fauxtographers come and go because they don't know how to run a business or they didn't realize how little they would be making (or how much they'd go in the hole), I can't imagine that it's really hitting anyone that hard. I could be wrong though. Just something to think about, I guess.

Our next door neighbour is a photographer, has been a pro for 10 years or so, and he's noticed a HUGE drop-off in business in the past few years. To the point where he can no longer support himself as he'd been doing 4-5 years ago. In fact, he's looking into going to the trades now (electrician). Sad

Omrithekat's picture
Joined: 08/01/07
Posts: 62

I'm one such photographer! Smile

I didn't know what to do about it, so I asked my very successful pro photographer friend what I should do to go about building my portfolio. Her advice was that I needed to start out from day one being business savvy and charge for photos as I build my portfolio. She told me to start out charging $75 for a session, but I started out at $50. People should value your time and effort. A few months later, I am up to $100 per session because I put a lot of work and effort into the editing and my time is worth something. Her actual advice to me was to advertise that I am ____% off of my soon to be rising prices, so that my clients would not be shocked one day when my prices are higher. I did not do that, but I don't think that my prices will be changing until next summer. ANYWAY, that being said, I have been following tons of photographers on FB and was shocked to find one advertising $3 per digital image with no sitting fee. Wow, that is cheap. I just can't afford to be that cheap.

That being said, I am still learning a ton, but I do charge. But I am not up to my eventual goal price point yet, either Wink

If you want a laugh that is related, check out youarenotaphotographer.com Smile

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

I'm not sure that you actually fall in this category, though, Jess. Your images are a million times better than the wannabe's out there.

I definitely agree that portfolio building should never be free. People take advantage of that. You have to make it worth your while, and I feel like it's great practice for when your business actually starts up. There's a huge difference between advertising yourself as a business, having no experience, and advertising yourself as building your portfolio. It just shows that you're taking it seriously, and making yourself look more professional, especially once you make the final jump.

That's sad, Tracy Sad I was kind of hoping that it would be the other way. It's pretty hard, these days, what with Pinterest and all. Photography has become very "trendy" and I would imagine that if you don't keep up with "the times", it would be hard to retain clients. I guess, if I think about it, I can't say that I'd go back to my senior portrait photographer for my family portraits because his style isn't what I want these days. He does a lot of studio work and I like outdoor with filtered backlighting.

shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

You don't fall in to the category I was talking about Jess. You didn't get a new camera and instantly think that made you a pro. You're taking the time to learn and grow. These girls literally got a new camera and opened shop. Based on the images at least one of these girls shoots only in auto and often inside with a popup flash.

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

I had a neighbor who is like that (they moved away but she's still in business). She charges $150 just for her sitting fee along with a $100 print minimum requirement. Some of her images are OK, but she does really over-the-top processing, all the while touting a "natural" style. I'm actually jealous though. At least she's out there and doing her thing. Maybe one day I will feel confident enough to try photographing others' kids and families. I know I'm far away from that though.

The bad thing is there are tons of people who don't have trained eyes and are impressed by just about anything. They gobble up all the terrible plastic-looking faces and really played up glass-looking eyes. They don't see the too-shallow depth of field or even notice that the focus fell on the sweater and not the eyes. As long as those people think those pics are great, they'll buy them.

I think there are several businesses that have the same problem. Bakeries are one of such career paths that come to mind. Cake Wrecks has tons of examples of really bad "professional" bakers' works. It seems like everybody and their mother wants to open up a "gourmet" cupcake shop too. Sorry for going a little off-topic!

rlcummings1223's picture
Joined: 09/19/11
Posts: 320

It frustrates the heck out of me to see these moms that are 'faux-tographers.' People who get a nice camera and start taking pics. They charge $20 and that includes 2 8x10s and a 5x7 or something. They are obviously using a GREAT Kodak photo kiosk, LOL. I admit that my prices are relatively low, and i've been doing this for nearly 2 years...but i'm ok with that and have my own reasons...BUT...i don't produce crap either. I shoot exclusively on manual and know how to use my camera and lenses. I see so many people get jobs over me and their photos are oversaturated selectively colored out of focus poorly executed and over-processed. Blur can be acheived IN CAMERA PEOPLE! lol I wish people would put a decent amount of value in quality of photos and not just look for the cheapest person with a nice camera. It gets old but i've gotten to the point now where i just laugh about the awful photos. Unless they are a friend, then i cry a little inside. lol.

Muddee's picture
Joined: 03/13/08
Posts: 2119

This is exactly why I didn't buy from the photo's that Natalie's Montessori school had done, the lady claims to be "professional" but her pictures are OOF and inconsistent when it comes to brightness and contrast. To top it I've had to deal with her when my CD got messed up last year and she was very unprofessional in a business sense. She doesn't have a website or a facebook page definitely not good for a professional photographer of any sort.

daniellec.parker's picture
Joined: 09/06/09
Posts: 895

And along the same lines, I hate when people tell me that my pictures are good because of my camera.....

I've had several people telling me lately that I should "go into business" and start charging for my pictures. Having a good camera and a good lens does make a difference, but there is a lot of skill that goes into it. And also the ability to see with a creative eye. I don't feel that I've reached the professional level yet. I can see where I've made TONS of improvement since I joined this board and started to experiment with my DSLR. Learning to shoot in manual and in RAW, has made loads of a difference. Looking back at the pictures we had taken at JCPenney when A&A were 2 months old, I wonder how I ever thought some of those pictures were great. The color and exposure are all ok, but majority of them are slightly OOF. Compared to those pictures, I would say I do pretty good work. I have taken 2 photography courses, and plan on taking another in the Spring. I think I want to take the Photoshop course next, followed by one of the ones on lighting. If I'm a very good girl, I might get a speedlight for Christmas---- or perhaps on Mother's Day.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

I think that attitude of others doesn't help the situation either, Danielle. You're so right about people thinking that since you have a nice camera, you need to go into business. It's easy for them to say, since it's not their money on the line. In this situation, enabling most definitely doesn't help! They're setting their loved ones up for failure. I'll admit, though, it's hard to resist it when everyone is telling you that you should go for it. So, good for you for knowing that you need to make sure you're absolutely prepared for it before jumping in. There's a lot of learning that needs to happen first. And dang, girl, I'm so proud of you with your progress! Keep it up!

Muddee's picture
Joined: 03/13/08
Posts: 2119

A person I was friends with in high school just posted some pictures on Facebook for her family Christmas cards, and I think the person that took them thinks they are professional, they have a bunch of props a white background, everything but talent. For starters I am not a fan of mom's dress for family photos, but I believe a good photographer could have worked well with it, this one put her in poses that were just not flattering, in fact all their posing was poorly done. In two of the photos where the background is supposed to be white you can see props in the background. The white backgrounds aren't white. The photos with props are cropped too close. Less of a concern but still one is the pictures don't pop, not really sure how to describe it other than they are flat. Mom's happy with them and I really don't know why, I hope it's cause she didn't pay for them.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

I just read something in the local Online Yardsale FB group that made my eyes bug completely out of my head! There's a photographer (I use that loosely because I can't seem to even find a website) in the area that is offering a 1-1.5 hour session with *400* edited images for $50! I've never seen anything like that....

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Omg 400? Lmao

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

How do you edit that many? I don't even TAKE that many!

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

LOL I know, I don't either!